Thursday, August 5, 2010

Budgets and Heirlooms

Cogs in the Wedding Machine
So, in continuing my reverie about sane budgeting for weddings to save people from the great lamprey-like abyss that is the Industrial Wedding Machine,  I was just thinking about the divergence between the typical American and European lifestyles.  The fast food mentality and Puritan avoidance of "indulgent" things basically ensures that we spend a lot of money on disposables.  It is like eating a bag of potato chips when you are hungry: getting tons and tons of cheap things that fall apart in a few years makes you...hungry.  Despite my analogy breaking down, the European way is about quality; it sidesteps brand-name splurging and cheapness. You do not have to be rich to have gorgeous things, but for everyone: keep it in moderation.  Money is around to help you enjoy life, but choose things that will actually help enhance your existence.  Also, never get attached to inanimate objects because kids are tiny innocent forces of destruction and it is inevitable that some valued things will be smashed to 35mm Nikons.

IKEA: Beddinge Murbo
Sean and I tried to keep that in mind for planning our wedding, which was mostly successful, but we also want to keep it in mind as we set up our household.  We are new-grad-poor-middle-class millennials, and being IKEA cheap is tempting, but there is something to be said about investing in lovely things to fill up your life.  (Do not get me wrong, IKEA's marketing honesty is awesome.  That stereotypical streamlined, Swedish efficiency gets things done!  They cut unnecessary overhead costs to keep the prices of their products low and you reliably get what you pay for from IKEA.  Also, they provide their employees with a Nap Room, so that alone has stolen my heart.  Seriously, if you need a quick job to tide you over, IKEA rocks.)

Anyways, we usually do not buy ourselves many thing, but when we do spend money we try to get what we really like...and since we both have great taste, we are not buying much right now.  We have, however, been very blessed with generous friends.  We are fully prepared to just hang onto our furniture collections from college (and yes, some of those college pieces may have been found in the near vicinty of a dumpster), but a bedroom set was posing a bit of a problem for us.  It is kind of difficult to feel grown up when instead of a dresser you root through a mountain of clothes folded neatly in a corner on the floor.  Then, a friend happened to mention that she had a bedroom set from her mother that it was time to give away, and ta-da! we inherited an heirloom.  It was purchased on November 22, 1963, which I find interesting give my birth date and current locale.  It is French Provincial and in gorgeous shape, the kind of vintage pieces we could never afford from an antique mall.  And I really dig that we inherited it through friends; it makes me look forward to the time Sean and I will be able to give hand-me-downs to new couples.


Margaret Perry said...

"The fast food mentality and Puritan avoidance of "indulgent" things basically ensures that we spend a lot of money on disposables:

I never connected those two thoughts in my head before, but you are SO right.

I learned this lesson at a young age when my parents spent a christmas bonus not on groceries or winter coats, but on a beautiful oriental rug that has graced our home ever since. It provided real, beautiful joyful warmth for our home. Much better than a coat.

Meghan Leigh McNally said...

Yes! Gorgeous things like that matter for a home. The medieval mentality was that your possessions were extension of yourself and should provide a true reflection. I am still trying to learn this.